Picture Book Review: The Bedtime Book

The Bedtime Book by S. Marendaz
The Bedtime Book
by S. Marendaz

5 out of 5 stars

Mouse has lost her favorite bedtime book, and Frank the Dog is determined to help her find it. They ask Bella the Cat and they ask Owl to help them, but poor Mouse is very upset to have lost such a beloved book. How will Mouse ever get to sleep without her bedtime book?

This book is so adorable! The story is charming and sweet, and I loved the way the text draws the reader into the emotions of the story and the suspense of the mystery. The story has some excellent repetition in it, which is perfect for young readers. The pacing flows smoothly, and I loved the twist at the end. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: I’m Sorry

I'm Sorry! by Barry Timms
I’m Sorry!
by Barry Timms, Sean Julian (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

Swoop and Scribble are an owl and a squirrel who are best friends. They decide to move into a house together, but begin to squabble over who can use the beautiful porch. Swoop wants the porch to be her workshop, and Scribble wants the porch to put on elaborate stage plays. Things escalate into a fierce argument, and there’s only one word that can repair their relationship. But even the word “Sorry” doesn’t work unless you really mean it.

I loved this adorable picture book! Swoop and Scribble are so cute! I love the way the story goes back and forth between the workshop and the stage, until finally the friends learn to compromise. I love how the writing is so insightful to remind the reader that saying you’re sorry doesn’t always work. You have to really BE sorry, and then do something to repair the emotional damage. Such a positive message told in a charming story! Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Its Impossible

It's Impossible! by Tracey Corderoy
It’s Impossible!
by Tracey Corderoy, Tony Neal (Illustrator)

4 out of 5 stars

Dog dreams of visiting the ocean, but it’s so far away that he never goes. One day Crab magically appears in his laundry basket, and Dog is forced to finally follow his dreams to the ocean as he helps Crab to get home. Dog thinks the trip is impossible, but with Crab’s encouragement he finds a new confidence that they can do anything together.

I liked this cute picture book! It has a positive message about confidence and trying your best, and the characters are really funny. The plot takes many twists and turns as Dog and Crab go on their journey to the ocean. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: A Friend for Bear

A Friend for Bear by Steve Smallman
A Friend for Bear
by Steve Smallman, Caroline Pedler (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

Bear is so excited to wake up from hibernation, and run and jump and play in the sunshine! She befriends Tortoise, but has trouble slowing down to his pace. Bear cannot be still for a second, and drags Tortoise along as she runs through the forest, and rolls down a grassy hill, and jumps into the water to swim. Finally, Tortoise begs her to slow down and appreciate all the things she has been running past, too busy to notice the other animals who want to play. Together the friends learn to stop and smell the flowers.

I loved this adorable story! Bear is such a cute character, and Tortoise is very patient with her. You can really feel the joyful energy Bear has to be out in the beautiful Spring, playing in the sun. Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Literally

Literally by Patrick Skipworth
Literally: Amazing Words and Where They Come From
by Patrick Skipworth

3 out of 5 stars

I love etymology and history and how words develop through time! This is such a great look at how certain English words have been borrowed from other languages.

However, I was disappointed that there are only 12 words showcased in this book. And even those are only described very briefly in one paragraph for each word. Each entry informs the reader about the pronunciation, origin, English meaning, and original meaning, and then has a small paragraph with the story of how the word came to be included in English and how its meaning changed. It’s good, but left me wanting more. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Common Critters

Common Critters by Pat Brisson
Common Critters: The Wildlife in Your Neighborhood
by Pat Brisson, Dan Tavis (Illustrations)

3 out of 5 stars

This book introduces common animals like pigeons, squirrels, spiders, skunk, earthworms, and butterflies. The text is written in rhyme, which is constructed quite well. I really like that none of these are farm animals. So many children’s books focus on farm animals instead of the type of animals that we normally see in our neighborhood or even in the city.

I am not always a fan of rhyme in children’s books, but I have no cause to complain of the rhyming in this book. The meter is good, and the rhymes are good, although a little contrived at times. However, most of the poems for each animal are four stanzas long. Any child young enough to be interested in an animal book will probably not sit through four stanzas of poetry on each page. Shorter would have been better. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Gloria’s Big Problem

Gloria's Big Problem by Sarah Stiles Bright
Gloria’s Big Problem
by Sarah Stiles Bright,  Mike Deas (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars

Gloria is trapped in her anxiety. It feels like a big problematic monster that whispers her fears into her ears every day. Gloria feels crippled by her anxiety, and she doesn’t feel comfortable going to the movies or sleep overs with friends. She loves to sing, but is too scared to sing in front of people. Is there any way for her to destroy her anxiety and be able to sing in the big auditions for a musical show?

I loved this book so much! The concept of anxiety is described in a really insightful way, as a mental and physical response, and as an emotion too. I also found it very compelling how Gloria’s family minimize her problem and don’t take her seriously. Most people will not take a child seriously, or will tell you to “get over it.” There are some very powerful messages in this story about taking control of your own emotions and pulling yourself out of your fears. However, the story never feels preachy or overly “inspirational”. The story flows smoothly and is fun and silly, making it a joy to read! Continue reading

Non Fiction Review: Every Second

Every Second by Bruno Gibert
Every Second
by Bruno Gibert

4 out of 5 stars

This book features things that happen each second around the world. 4 babies are born and 2 people die every second. 40 pairs of jeans and 48 smartphones are bought every second. 100 lightning bolts strike the earth every second! From natural phenomenon to text messages, this book gives some surprising numbers about how often things happen every second.

I liked how this book was organized! All the facts are really interesting, and they are illustrated with crisp art work. I also appreciated that the sources for all these numbers are listed in the back of the book, so you can determine for yourself how reliable the source might be. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: A Wave of Stars

A Wave of Stars by Dolores Brown
A Wave of Stars
by Dolores Brown,  Sonja Wimmer  (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars

Mimbi and Kipo are a seal and a turtle who see the legendary moonbow, a rainbow created by the moon’s light. The magical moonbow transforms them into human children, and they meet a kindly fisherman who helps them to find a way to become animals again.

I loved this imaginative story, especially for the legend of the enchanting moonbow. This gave the story arc some great depth and history. The whole thing is absolutely whimsical! The characters are sweet and innocent, and the magic is delightful.

The illustrations are lovely with calming blues and greens. There are bright pops of color in the fish and coral, and the art style is soft and wavy. The coolest thing about the artwork is the border where the colored illustration turns into a pencil sketch. It’s really clever and a beautiful design. The gorgeous art work along with the bewitching story makes this book particularly sweet and enjoyable!
Continue reading

Picture Book Review: A New School for Charlie

A New School for Charlie by Courtney Dicmas
A New School for Charlie
by Courtney Dicmas

5 out of 5 stars

Charlie is excited about attending his new school, but when he gets there all his classmates are cats! Charlie finds it hard to make friends when he feels so different, but he tries his best to be friendly and is rewarded with a new friend.

This book is so adorable! Charlie is so spunky and sweet, and full of energy. I love how he approaches his problems with enthusiasm and hope. The first thing he does is look in the library for some answers about how to befriend cats, and he learns about cat culture. I love the positive messages of acceptance in this story!

The illustrations are so cute! I fell in love with the art style and the hilarious expressions on the characters’ faces. The colorful cartoon style is perfect for this story, and all the little details in the background make this story special. The art really shows the energy and action of each scene in a way that draws the reader into the story. Continue reading